Written Sept. 11th, 2015
I had the unexpected opportunity , today, to teach a 6th grade class about September 11th. So often as a substitute teacher , I administer busy work and while away the time.
I surprised myself with my ability to help these kids process and understand something that happened before they were born, but which has impacted their parents and family so uniquely.
Though I have hardly even noticed the date in recent years, I found myself emotional when I did stop and reflect on that great tragedy.
It's strange, isn't it; that a fourth grader in California with no relatives back east could grow up and still be so deeply affected?
As a grown up I've heard dark hints at how political the attacks really were. From conspiracy theory to commonly held opinion it seems we've pretty much devolved into staunch factions all arguing about what really happened, and why our reaction to it was not correct.
As I sit and try to sift through my childhood perspective of this national tragedy and compare that to the information I have waded through as an adult, I am struck most poignantly with this thought:
That despite what anyone callously professes on facebook, despite those articles about how Finland is better because it has a TV show with a strong female lead, and despite globalization and current political trends I still love my country.
I don't love everything about our government as it currently stands, I don't love every stretch of freeway, or all of our current societal trends. But I do love the rocks and rills and templed hills.
I love the sprawling desert that stretches from here to my parents' without interruption. I love the taste and smell that accosts you the minute you step outside the Honolulu airport. I have heard God on these mountains and seen bravery protect them.
I am proud to be an American.
Whether the terrorists who attacked on September 11th all those years ago were attacking for one group or another doesn't change that. Whether or not I knew any one of those little specks jumping desperately from the high windows doesn't make their final acts lose resonance. The September 11th attacks were a direct attack on a land, a place, a community, and a people that I believe in. That I love. And that is both sad and empowering.
As I choked back tears and answered the questions of the most attentive and engaged class I have ever taught, I did my best to convey my message.
And I was filled with hope as I saw that, for that brief moment, they got it.